How to Read Shanghai Street Signs

April 15th, 2009. China
The ???? and ??? intersection

Find this on your map

Your Map

Your Map

Figure it out….then scroll down.

Did you think you'd be here?

Did you think you'd be here?

Me neither. Try to figure that one out while you’re riding your bike in a neighborhood you’ve never been to. I had to take a photo so that I could figure it out at home. Pretty lame.

The trick to these signs, which I knew already, is that they typically indicate the NEXT intersecting road, which is super helpful most of the time (assuming you know what road you’re on). But this time I didn’t know what road I was on, and looking at my map did not help. Yishan Lu should have been straight ahead AND to the left. And why did they put Coabao Lu instead of Tianlin Dong Lu? It is times like this that I am glad I’m not a city planner.



Memories, memories… Beijing with no pinyin right after a 24-hour flight during the New Year Festival. Looking for food turned into totally lost pretty darn fast.

LOL you are so right about these signs. We have them here where I live, too. At first they were very confusing for me. Speaking of reading maps in Shanghai… One day my husband and I got completely lost in the area of Shanghai Northeast of Suzhou Creek. (I think!) AND it was pouring down rain AND there were no taxis to be found. We just wanted to find the nearest subway, so we thought we’d ask a traffic cop. We even showed him our map (in Chinese) and asked which direction we should go. Wouldn’t you know it, the cop had no idea where we were. He didn’t even know where the nearest subway was let alone where he was on the map. He eventually called another cop over and they stood in the rain pondering over the map as it slowly disintegrated in the water. We walked off in one direction for about 20 more minutes before stumbling onto a brand new subway station. Soaked to the bone we were quite the sight and quickly became topics of conversation among all the locals. :)

as if everything in chinese isn’t hard enough ;)


Wow! And I thought navigating American roadways was difficult…I will never complain again!

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